Introduction to Sport Biomechanics

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Rick Hansen training on wheelchair ergometer shortly before embarking on Man in Motion Tour, Biomechanics Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Biomechanics is a prominent sport science that explains the mechanical aspects of human movement. Introduction to Sport Biomechanics demonstrates the fundamental mechanical factors associated with human performance in sport. The description of gross movement patterns as well the forces associated with such movement will be explored with respect to linear and angular motion. Newton's Laws of motion will also be explored with specific application to a sporting context.

The basic principles of mechanical engineering will then be discussed in relation to sporting equipment design and the structure of the human body. This leads to an in-depth examination of gait biomechanics including walking, running, sprinting and changing directions (agility) relevant to sport. The kinetic link principles (effective force summation) will then be explored across various types of sports including those involving throwing, kicking and hitting.

Finally, basic fluid dynamic principles are considered including concepts of drag and propulsion in sports such as rowing, swimming and motor racing. Introduction to Sport Biomechanics provides a sound base of knowledge to then complete Applied Sport Biomechanics.


  1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of mechanical factors that influence human movement
  2. Demonstrate an applied knowledge of musculoskeletal biomechanics relevant to sport
  3. Ability to conduct qualitative technique analysis and provide meaningful feedback to improve sporting performance


  • Background to sport biomechanics
  • Describing motion including forms, linear, angular and projectile
  • Levers and torque associated with human movement
  • Application of Newton's Laws of Motion in sport
  • Basic Engineering principles and the application to orthopaedic biomechanics
  • Functional anatomy including spine, upper and lower extremity biomechanics
  • Gait biomechanics including walking, running and sport-specific movement patterns
  • Kinetic link principle applied to effective force summation in throwing, hitting and kicking sports
  • Fluid dynamic principles including concepts of drag and propulsion


  • Hall, S.J. Basic Biomechanics (2006). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  • Resources - A range of resources to help with understanding the topics, completing the assignments, and submitting for assessment.


  • Examination assessing application of biomechanical concepts and principles in sport
  • Presentation involving a critical review of the scientific literature surrounding an area of interest in biomechanics
  • Portfolio demonstrating an ability to conduct and present biomechanics research effectively


Keane Wheeler